News archive 2007
First Sea Lord lecture21 Feb 2007, PR 25/07
Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, spoke to War Studies' students on the 20 February on how the Royal Navy is adjusting to, and will operate within, the changing strategic environment. The lecture was at the invitation of The Laughton Naval History Unit in War Studies.
Sir Jonathon, who was quoted extensively in the media over the weekend on the future of the Royal Navy, emphasised the difference in the political, strategic and geographical context within which the armed forces are, and will operate, in the future. He stated that the large scale threat posed by the Soviet Union has now disappeared but has been replaced by new threats such as nationalism, religious extremism, terrorism and the growth of rogue states, citing the first Gulf War and the break-up of Yugoslavia as forerunners. He made clear that in order to meet these new challenges, Armed Forces needed to be able to deploy both ‘soft' and ‘hard' power as the situation demanded, and the capabilities to succeed in a more volatile world.
Against this backdrop, Sir Jonathon drew particular attention to the economic, social and political importance of the maritime environment to the UK, especially under the umbrella of globalisation that now characterises the way in which all nations conduct business. He emphasised the fragile nature and dependence of the UK on the maritime domain that maintains the lifeblood of our trade, energy supplies and security.
Whilst not attracting the attention that goes to the current land-centred operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, he was quick to point out that there are significant Naval Forces in both theatres and that the Navy's contribution to these was in addition to its global role and deployment around the oceans of the world, from the North and South Atlantic, Caribbean, Far East and Mediterranean, supporting national and international operations. He highlighted the Navy's conspicuous successes including those in counter-drug operations and the use of ‘soft' power, most recently seen in the evacuation of British national from Beirut last year.
To meet all these demands, the Royal Navy has been successfully re-configuring itself into a force that is expeditionary, more deployable and agile than before, and Sir Jonathon drove this theme home by citing the significant shipbuilding programme over the past few years that has and will continue to deliver the capabilities that we will need in the future, including Daring class destroyers, Astute class submarines and the CVF, the pivotal capability around which will provide the hub of expeditionary capability in line with British defence policy.
Andrew Lambert, Laughton Professor of Naval History and Director of the Laughton Naval History Unit at King's, said: ‘This was a tremendous opportunity for students at King's to hear about the present and future challenges facing the Royal Navy from the First Sea Lord, his comprehensive and thoughtful response to a series of questions ranging from the importance of naval history to the current aircraft carrier programme demonstrated that the future of the service is in good hands.'
Notes to editors
Department of War Studies
The Department of War Studies at King's College London is a multi-disciplinary institution devoted to the study of all aspects of war and conflict, international relations and politics and is an acknowledged leader in teaching and research within its specialist areas. The Department received the highest possible ratings in successive Research Assessment Exercises and scored the highest rating of 24 in the last Quality Assurance Agency Subject Review assessment of teaching. There are a number of research centres, programmes and groups in the Department. www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/sspp/ws/
Laughton Naval History Unit
The Laughton Naval History Unit was established in 2001 and was named in honour of the founding father of naval history, Professor Sir John Knox Laughton (1830-1915), who taught at the College between 1885 and 1914 and before that at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. This Unit builds on a tradition of excellence in the subject going back over a century, and demonstrates King's leadership in the field. It is the aim of this Unit to further naval history through academic leadership, teaching, research, publication and administrative activities. The Unit teaches naval history within the broader context of War Studies to undergraduate, postgraduate and research students. Laughton Naval History Research Unit
King's College London
King's College London is the fourth oldest university in England with more than 13,700 undergraduates and nearly 5,600 graduate students in nine schools of study based at five London campuses. It is a member of the Russell Group: a coalition of the UK's major research-based universities. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level, and it has recently received an excellent result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, international relations, medicine, nursing and the sciences, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to four Medical Research Council Centres, more than any other university.
King's is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings, with income from grants and contracts of more than £100 million, and has an annual turnover of more than £363 million.
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